Right from the beginning you could feel this would be a tough match. This was Roger’s first match on Lenglen and the conditions were heavy, with dark clouds and intermittent rain. Not only was Schwartzman someone he’s never faced before, but credit to the young player, he didn’t show any nerves at all in facing off against his idol. Apparently he used to have posters of Federer in his room 🙂 It took a bit of time for Roger to figure out this new opponent and honestly, despite winning the match I don’t think he solved the entire puzzle. Unlike his R1 match, this was a hard-fought, at-times-ugly, match win.
Set 1 started with both players holding serve at 1 all. Then inexplicably, Roger got broken to go down to 1-2*. Thankfully Roger quickly righted the ship by breaking back immediately to get to 2 all. He then held serve with the help of an ace and put the pressure back on Diego. The Argentine didn’t know what hit him and got broken to love, down 2-4*. By then Roger looked a bit more assured and held to love to consolidate the break, leaving Diego to serve to stay in the set at 2*-5. Diego was up for the challenge as he held, making the Maestro serve for the set. Roger got pushed to 30 all but ultimately held and took the set in 26 minutes. Here are the stats for the set.Set 2 started with Diego showing no signs of frustration at having lost the first set. He continued to play positive tennis from the baseline and held comfortably, aided by quite a few errors from Roger. Unfortunately the errors continued to flow from the Swiss as he offered Diego a break point on his own serve before saving it and holding to get to 1 all. For the next 4 games, both players held without facing any break points though it seemed that Diego had an easier time while Roger was making quite a few errors off both wings. Then at 4 all, as Schwartzman was about to serve, Roger did what champions do and applied more pressure at this crucial time. Roger got 2 break points only to wipe them out with two of his own errors. After 4 deuces, Roger finally had a 3rd break point. As Diego hit the final shot wide, Roger got the break. Despite this being an error-ridden set, when it came to serving for the set, he held to love, sealing the deal in 37 minutes. Here are the stats from Set 2.Undeterred at being 2 sets to love down, Diego started the set with a tough but strong hold. Roger played at a slightly higher level in this final set compared to Set 2. He quickly held to love and it was 1 all. At 30 all on Diego’s serve Roger got a break point with a forehand winner and for once he was able to take it right away. The Swiss got the break 2*-1 and held serve to consolidate and go up to 3-1*. Diego continued to play as if he wasn’t 2 sets and a break down and hit quite a few winners to hold at 2-3*. Roger got pushed to 30 all in his next service game when two great serves helped him to hold, 4-2*.
Diego’s next service game was a long one with Roger pushing for a double-break and the Argentine fighting for every point. Roger had 3 break points during that one game but despite being pushed to deuce 4 times, Diego held. I think Roger was so irritated at not being able to break Diego that he hit 4 ridiculously good serves in succession to quickly hold to 5-3* and get the match wrapped up as soon as possible. Diego wasn’t fazed however. He played well in his own service game and held without offering the Swiss a break point. This meant that our champ had to serve for the match. Roger lost one point but otherwise held comfortably to win the match. Here are the match stats.This was not a very pretty match from the Maestro. He struggled much more than his R1 match. He didn’t serve as well, especially with his 2nd serves. But really it was his return game that was off quite a bit. He didn’t have as many winners and had much more unforced errors compared to R1. His winners to unforced errors ratio was negative, which was not good. Some of it was understandable. Not only were the conditions heavy, taking some of the zip off the ball, but also Schwartzman was a much more worthy opponent than Lacko was. The Argentine played well from the baseline, mixing defense and offense nicely. Roger never looked comfortable in the match and there were periods of time in each set when Diego was clearly the better player. But right when he needed to, he exerted pressure on Diego to get the crucial breaks. In other words, he played the big moments well. This is much more in keeping with the Gritty Federer of 2014 – winning despite not playing his best. His experience and championship mentality gave him the edge.
Diego for his part played very well and should be proud of the way he performed facing his idol. Roger predicted he would rise through the ranks soon. I think a win like this was needed for the Swiss. Lacko didn’t provide enough of a test while this was a full workout. Though Roger was never in serious trouble he was under pressure throughout. I hope he’s gotten more information about what’s working and what he can focus on for his next match. Here is a tiny presser clip.
At least this time it won’t be an unknown opponent. He will face fellow 30-something Russian player, Dmitry Tursunov, ranked 32 in the world. Strangely enough, despite being from the same generation of players, they had faced off only twice in 2006 and once in 2008 before finally playing each other 6 years later at Indian Wells this year. And now all of a sudden, they will play again. The H2H is 4-0 in favor of the Swiss but Tursunov has had a very good start to RollyG, not dropping a set. He’s a dangerous player so Roger will need to be sharp and on point from the start. The match will be held on Friday, Roger will play 2nd on Chatrier. Here is the OOP.
Meanwhile, as our Champ was fighting the conditions, Schwartzman and himself on court, his box was full of his family and his team. Not only did the twins come again, but his parents, Robert and Lynette were there too, along with Mirka, Luthi, Vivier and Paganini. We also heard that his other coach, a certain Mr. Edberg, might join soon which bodes well for our champ 😀 Now before signing off, here again are some stats and records of our Maestro after this win.
- This was Roger’s 30th match win of the year.
- This was Roger’s 60th French Open win. He is one win behind Rafa.
- With this 60th match win, Roger has now won 60 or more matches at every Grand Slam. No ATP player has ever achieved this feat. He has 60 wins at the French Open, 67 wins each at Wimbledon and the US Open and 73 wins at the Australian Open (which is a record for the Australian Open).
- He has now reached R3 of the French Open for 11 consecutive years, since 2004.
Good luck for the next round Roger! 😀
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